Orkla ASA: Portfolio companies report profit improvement

Oslo / NO. (ok) The consolidated portfolio companies of Norway’s Orkla ASA increased operating profit Ebit (adjusted) for the fourth quarter by 17 percent to NOK 1.6 billion. The improvement is due to cost reduction measures, positive currency translation effects, price increases and structural growth.

The contribution from associates to Orkla’s profit rose in the fourth quarter by 153 percent to NOK 372 million. This was mainly the contribution from Jotun, in which Orkla has an ownership interest of 42.7 percent. Jotun’s profit was driven by price and volume growth, increased gross margin and good cost control.

Orkla’s turnover increased in the fourth quarter by 10 percent to NOK 17.7 billion. Profit before tax amounted to NOK 1.3 billion, compared with NOK 1.7 billion in the same period of 2022. The decline can be ascribed in its entirety to substantially lower power prices, as Hydro Power’s operating profit Ebit (adjusted) was reduced from NOK 631 million to NOK 183 million.

«I am pleased that most of the portfolio companies have reported organic growth, higher operating profit and increased cash flow from operations. There are signs of improvement in our markets and several of the companies experienced volume growth in the fourth quarter. We also see that several companies saw slowing growth in purchasing costs towards the end of the year, and there are signs that the positive developments will continue in the first half of 2024,» says President and CEO Nils K. Selte.

In 2023, Orkla’s consolidated portfolio companies achieved operating profit Ebit (adjusted) of NOK 6.4 billion. This is an improvement of 19 percent from 2022.

The contribution to profit from associates amounted to NOK 1.8 billion in 2023, equivalent to an increase of NOK 975 million. Jotun’s Board of Directors intends to propose a total dividend of NOK 2.2 billion. Orkla’s share of this dividend is NOK 948 million, which is an increase of NOK 583 million compared with the dividend received for the 2022 financial year.

For the full year, Orkla’s turnover rose by 16 percent to NOK 67.8 billion. Orkla’s profit before tax amounted to NOK 7.0 billion, equivalent to a decline of 5 percent from 2022. Hydro Power’s operating profit Ebit (adjusted) was reduced from NOK 2.3 billion to NOK 873 million.

Orkla’s earnings per share (adjusted) in 2023 were NOK 5.78, an increase of 6 percent.

In October last year, Orkla Food Ingredients entered into a partnership agreement with Rhône, a leading private equity company that invests in companies with a transatlantic presence. The transaction is expected to be concluded by the end of April this year, provided that the conditions for completion are fulfilled, including approvals by the relevant authorities.

Orkla’s Board of Directors has the intention of proposing a total dividend for the 2023 accounting year of NOK 6 per share, of which NOK 3 is in addition to the company’s ordinary dividend. This is equivalent to NOK 6.0 billion in total dividend. The increase can be linked to the anticipated larger dividend from Jotun and the settlement from the partnership agreement with Rhône regarding ownership of Orkla Food Ingredients.

Orkla is a leading industrial investment company with focus on brands and consumer-oriented companies. Its investment portfolio currently consists of 12 companies operating in sectors including paint, food products, food ingredients, confectionery and snacks, dietary supplements, cleaning products and personal care. As at 31 December 2023, Orkla had 19,671 employees and 121 factories in 24 countries.

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